Virgin Atlantic will begin Manchester to Delhi flights in October 2020

Virgin Atlantic Cargo has announced new flights between the UK and Pakistan, supporting growing trade volumes between exporters and importers in both countries.

Flights are set to launch from London, Heathrow to Lahore on 7 December, Manchester to Islamabad on 10 December and London, Heathrow to Islamabad on 12 December.

This is the first time that Virgin Atlantic Cargo has flown to Pakistan and the services will add over 66 direct flights to Pakistan each month, expanding the direct UK to Pakistan market by 90 per cent in December alone.

The UK is the third biggest global market for Pakistani exporters after the US and China. Cargo customers in Pakistan will also benefit from fast connections to prime markets in the US as well as in Europe and Africa via London, Heathrow.

Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said business opportunities between the UK and Pakistan present an exciting new prospect for customers.

“The import and export market for goods between the UK and Pakistan is extremely healthy, with over 114m kilograms of cargo moving between Europe and Pakistan each year,” said Kennedy.

“Virgin Atlantic Cargo is confident of gaining a healthy share of this new market in the weeks and months ahead.”

The services will provide more options for Pakistan’s fresh fruit and vegetable exporters who have been hampered by the lack of airfreight in 2020 due to the Covid-19.

Mike Nithariankis, the UK deputy high commissioner in Karachi and trade director for Pakistan, told The Express Tribune, there is demand for Pakistani fresh produce in the UK and opportunities for UK investment in the industry.

“These (investments) can boost Pakistan’s exports. But there is also a need for improving the supply chain, storage and processing facilities,” said Nithariankis. “There is a big demand for Pakistan’s fruits and vegetables as well.”